Escalating Nitrates

TombedOrchestra

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I have a 55 gal, 3 platties, 3 guppies, 4 tetras, 1 mollie, 1 pleco, 2 snails.

Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, 40-80 nitrates. BUT, I just did a 75% water change yesterday. I'd say the nitrates were about 20 yesterday. What!? I was hoping for like.. 5 nitrates. Nitrates out of my water source are 0.

Yes, I shook the Nitrate 2 bottle aggresively for 30 seconds. Added 10 of each, shook for 1 minute then let sit for 5. Right after 1 minute, I'd say it was VERY low (10 ppm), after 4-5 minutes it was quite red (40-80 ish).

I'm treating for parasites with API Gen Cure.

I did just add about 6 plants a week ago. There are some 'loose' leaves on the filter and occasionally one or two floating around. I try to get them out when I can. The ones on the filter I can't really get off.

1) Does medication raise nitrates?
2) Is it possible that my loose plants are causing the nitrate elevation?

I'm surprised that my nitrates would elevate that high in less than 24 hrs... especially with a 75% water change immediately before it.

Any thoughts?
 

DuaneV

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If you have 80ppm nitrates and do a 75% chance youre STILL going to have 20ppm. 75% is 3/4, 3/4 of 80 is 20. Simple math.
 
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TombedOrchestra

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DuaneV said:
If you have 80ppm nitrates and do a 75% chance youre STILL going to have 20ppm. 75% is 3/4, 3/4 of 80 is 20. Simple math.
I do understand. I did say though that my nitrates yesterday were about 20. Then I did a 75% water change, and 24 hrs later it's 40-80.

If I had 20 yesterday and did 75% water change... it SHOULD have been around 5. But it's 40-80.
 

finnipper59

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It's not likely to be the medication. If the loose leaves are dead, they are then also decaying. All organic material from fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying plants all eventually produce nitrates. Two wats of getting rid of nitrates are lives plants that will use it as food and water changes. Do you vacuum the bottom of your tank when you do water changes to remove fish waste and decaying food or do you just scoop the old water out?
 
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TombedOrchestra

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finnipper59 said:
It's not likely to be the medication. If the loose leaves are dead, they are then also decaying. All organic material from fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying plants all eventually produce nitrates. Two wats of getting rid of nitrates are lives plants that will use it as food and water changes. Do you vacuum the bottom of your tank when you do water changes to remove fish waste and decaying food or do you just scoop the old water out?
Nope, I did 'the works'. I vacuumed almost all the substrate even under rocks. Planted the plants. Added four 'root' tabs for the plants. Cleaned the sponge on the HOB filter.

Then added 75% water back with prime.

The only thing I can think of is the decaying plant 'parts'.. but there's really not that much of them. I wouldn't think that'd make the nitrates rise that fast....
 

finnipper59

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TombedOrchestra said:
Nope, I did 'the works'. I vacuumed almost all the substrate even under rocks. Planted the plants. Added four 'root' tabs for the plants. Cleaned the sponge on the HOB filter.

Then added 75% water back with prime.

The only thing I can think of is the decaying plant 'parts'.. but there's really not that much of them. I wouldn't think that'd make the nitrates rise that fast....
Then Im totally at a loss, but I have two more questions. Do you have well water instead of a water company. And have you tested your your tapwater for nitrates?
 
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TombedOrchestra

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finnipper59 said:
Then Im totally at a loss, but I have two more questions. Do you have well water instead of a water company. And have you tested your your tapwater for nitrates?
I use natural spring water (same as we use to drink) from a natural spring up the road. Tap water is high in sulfur which I heard is toxic to fish. Also, tap runs 0.25 ammonia. No nitrates out of either source.

I add prime to get rid of any heavy metals from the spring.

** Another thought... could removing the activated carbon filter affect nitrates? I know filter doesn't take nitrates AWAY, but could it not be removing things that contribute to nitrates?
 

psalm18.2

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How far did you bury the root tabs? I got a major nitrate spike after using root tabs myself as I didn't bury deep enough.
 

finnipper59

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There should be no ammonia in the tap. Ammonia goes to nitrites that then turns in nitrates. That along with you normal fish waste is probably the answer.
 

DuaneV

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TombedOrchestra said:
I do understand. I did say though that my nitrates yesterday were about 20. Then I did a 75% water change, and 24 hrs later it's 40-80.

If I had 20 yesterday and did 75% water change... it SHOULD have been around 5. But it's 40-80.
I misunderstood you. I thought you were saying you had 40-80, did a 75% water change and it was still at 20 but you were hoping for 5.

So, if its not that its either your decaying plant matter (which does create nitrates) or its the bioload. Nitrates only come from one place. Ive never heard of a medicine causing nitrates.
 
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TombedOrchestra

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DuaneV said:
I misunderstood you. I thought you were saying you had 40-80, did a 75% water change and it was still at 20 but you were hoping for 5.

So, if its not that its either your decaying plant matter (which does create nitrates) or its the bioload. Nitrates only come from one place. Ive never heard of a medicine causing nitrates.
Ok thanks!

Yeah, not sure what to do at this point. I'm treating for parasites / bacteria... so I'm supposed to wait to do water changes... but the nitrates are high.

I guess I'll just have to wait out the high nitrates until I finish the meds.
 

DuaneV

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Everyone has a different opinion on the subject, but Ive read that nitrates up to 400 wont harm some species of fish. Mine usually however around 40-80 in most tanks and Ive never had an issue. 20 I wouldnt worry about.
 

Mick Frost

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Nitrates aren't toxic. Nitrates will naturally convert to Nitrites, though, which is why they are considered bad.
Also, leaf litter doesn't produce Ammonia, some biotopes/habitats include a massive amount of leaf litter (upwards of 1/2" thick). Their decay will release Carbonates, which can cause other issues including massive algae issues, as well as Sulphides and Sulphates, which can be just as bad.
Did you do any filter maintenance with your WC?
 

DuaneV

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Ammonia is a byproduct of ANY decay. Ammonia is then converted to nitrites, nitrites are then converted to nitrates. Nitrates are removed only by water changes.

The majority of my tanks are blackwater, leaf litter biotopes. Any decaying organic matter, whether it be a dead fish, extra food or plants, will release ammonia.
 

finnipper59

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Just a little correction there Mick. It's the Nitrites that get changed to Nitrates by the Nitrobacter bacteria strains.
Mick Frost said:
Nitrates aren't toxic. Nitrates will naturally convert to Nitrites, though, which is why they are considered bad.
Also, leaf litter doesn't produce Ammonia, some biotopes/habitats include a massive amount of leaf litter (upwards of 1/2" thick). Their decay will release Carbonates, which can cause other issues including massive algae issues, as well as Sulphides and Sulphates, which can be just as bad.
Did you do any filter maintenance with your WC?
 

Mick Frost

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finnipper59 said:
Just a little correction there Mick. It's the Nitrites that get changed to Nitrates by the Nitrobacter bacteria strains.
Ammonia to Nitrite and Nitrite to Nitrate are catalytic reactions and are dependant on the Nitrosomnas/Nitrobacter. The process naturally reverses itself through ion exchange.
Nitrates are also absorbed by plants (including algae) and invertebrates (to a much smaller degree).
Plants don't go through any chemical process when they die. They stop photosynthesis and become food for organisms. The waste of these (specifically microorganisms) contains Ammonia.
 

finnipper59

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Mick Frost said:
Ammonia to Nitrite and Nitrite to Nitrate are catalytic reactions and are dependant on the Nitrosomnas/Nitrobacter. The process naturally reverses itself through ion exchange.
Nitrates are also absorbed by plants (including algae) and invertebrates (to a much smaller degree).
Plants don't go through any chemical process when they die. They stop photosynthesis and become food for organisms. The waste of these (specifically microorganisms) contains Ammonia.
Once NO3 has taken on an extra oxygen molecule and become NO4 by using ammonia detoifier changing it to ammonium, the Nitosomas continue to feed on it changing it to nitrites with a left over free oxygen atom that bonds with another make the O2 molecule we call breathable oxygen unless it comes in contact with iron atom that has a strong positive charge which will grab the oxygen and make ferrous oxide...rust. Other than those reactions occurring along with the biological filtration, there are no other natural reactions going in the water including a reversal in the nitrogen cycle.
 

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(2) NH3+ (4) O2 = (2) NO2 + (3) H2O
NO2 cannot exist long term, it is an esther, and the process will quickly reverse itself if something (an Amyl, Alkyd, or 1 of 5 metals doesnt steal it).
(2) NO3 = (2) NO2 + (1) O2
NO2 is highly prone to ion exchange, and the process will also reverse naturally.
 
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